Posted on February 4, 2021

Boat Lift Maintenance & Lubrication: 5 Factors that Affect Your Boat Lift’s Longevity

5 Factors that Affect Your Boat Lift’s Longevity

Written by ShoreMaster Marketing

Your boat lift protects your boat, so it’s essential to keep it in good condition. You also want your boat lift to last for a long time and potentially longer than your boat if you ever need to upgrade or replace it. Proper care and maintenance can help you avoid damage, repairs, and replacements. In addition to your boat lift, regularly inspect boat lift accessories and dock for damage, check your manufacturer’s guidelines for more specific care instructions, and keep these maintenance areas and hazards in mind.

ShoreMaster Vertical Lifts


Your boat lift is manufactured to set specifications, and staying within those is crucial. Even lifting a boat with the wrong hull design can cause damage. Don’t add more weight to your boat while it’s on the lift, including letting people stand on the lift. Remove the plug from the boat while it’s on the hoist to keep rainwater from collecting. Ensure you have proper weight distribution when lifting.


Cables are usually made of stainless steel and need lubrication. Regularly apply penetrating oil or chain and cable fluid to reduce abrasion. Just make sure that your lubricant doesn’t contain grease because grease can trap moisture inside the cable strands. Boat lift motor components and pulleys, however, should be greased. As long as you’re lubricating, check for damaged cables and other parts that need to be repaired, replaced, or tightened.

Water-Related Damage

Boat docks and lifts are still susceptible to water-related damage, especially in saltwater. Lift beams, bunks, cradles, and gearboxes can be damaged by water directly, and cables and other metal components can rust or corrode. Keep your lift out of the water as much as possible and rinsed with fresh water after use. Small amounts of rust can be ground off. For gearboxes, motors, and covers, drain holes at the top should be closed and the bottom open.


Uneven wear can shorten cable lifespans and affect your boat lift, so keep an eye on alignment. Make sheave alignment part of your regular inspections, and keep an eye on the winder, drum, and spool. If you notice backlashing cables, slack, or other boat lift problems, adjust the cables immediately. If you’re not sure of the alignment, contact a professional.


For seasonal boaters, off-season storage can contribute to how long your boat lift lasts. Store yours with the cradle or platform up, especially for hydraulic hoist systems. If you have a power hoist, remove the battery and store it inside a small piece of wood. Store dock decking and frames properly, and mark them if they’re going to be outside to avoid accidents.

Infinity Dock Systems

If you’re looking for a boat system with great staying power, look no further than ShoreMaster’s exclusive Infinity Dock System. Constructed with precision engineering and high-quality aluminum, our boat dock accessories and systems require very little maintenance to keep working season after season. To get started on your boat lift system, or if you have questions about what would work best for your waterfront, contact a local ShoreMaster dealer. 


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